dwood@northshire.com's blog

Dafydd Wood - Events and Community Outreach Coordinator in Manchester

Dafydd, a Vermont-transplant from Louisiana by way of Austin, is the events manager for Northshire's Manchester location. He has happily found a new use for his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature (on international interdisciplinary modernism). His tastes run arch and snooty from early 20th century culture generally to contemporary avant garde classical music, from Ethiopian Jazz and Afrobeat to historical materialism, art criticism, and poetics. He likes to read modernism (not so much the post-), history, travel literature, classics, poetry, fiction, drama, nonfiction, and essays. He also likes his wife (a midwife), his kids (two of whom are picture here), cooking, beer, B-movies, art, and nature.

On Parchment: Animals, Archives, and the Making of Culture from Herodotus to the Digital Age by Bruce Holsinger - Book Review

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On Parchment: Animals, Archives, and the Making of Culture from Herodotus to the Digital Age By Bruce Holsinger Cover Image
ISBN: 9780300260212
Availability: Click Title for IN STORE Location
Published: Yale University Press - February 21st, 2023

Holsinger’s On Parchment is a gorgeous, glorious deep dive into the literal animal tissue which was the dominant method of transcribing and disseminating Euro-Mediterranean culture for a millenia. The animal origin of parchment with its smells and stains, stray hairs and the unmistakable shape of a haunch is never far from Holsinger’s and the readers' thoughts, and he takes us through the whole grisly business: “every vellum folio, every parchment charter is…a unique and tangible record of faunal life and death, decomposition and dismemberment…yet a product of craftwork, a unique hand-made artifact that survives as a testament to human ingenuity in the historical rendering of fellow creatures for the recording and preservation of culture.” From Dantean and Shakespearean metaphors to the laws of Parliament to the Treaty of Waitangi signed by Maori chieftains with renditions of their facial tattoos, On Parchment is ceaselessly fascinating–and generously illustrated with the doodles of Medieval saints turning holes into faces, Egyptian Rosetta Stone-like fragments, anthropodermic bindings, to a magnificent mystical painting by the Surrealist Leonora Carrington on a full untrimmed parchment hide and more. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood

Franklin Smoke: Wood. Fire. Food. [A Cookbook] by Aaron Franklin - Book Review

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Franklin Smoke: Wood. Fire. Food. [A Cookbook] By Aaron Franklin, Jordan Mackay Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984860484
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Published: Ten Speed Press - May 9th, 2023

The high priest of Central Texas BBQ returns stronger than ever after a fire burned down his restaurant and a pandemic transformed the industry. In copious detail, Franklin Smoke can train the novice (as his first book taught me) but also offers enough detail and perspective for the seasoned pitmaster–reminiscent of say, a baking cookbook. This might really be THE BBQ book to get from the packed category with roughly half the book on technique or theory and the other half a core group of thorough step-by-step recipes for more than just meat–I’ll be making the Fire-Kissed Brussels Sprouts soon. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood

Don't Tell Anybody the Secrets I Told You: A Memoir by Lucinda Williams - Book Review

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Don't Tell Anybody the Secrets I Told You: A Memoir By Lucinda Williams Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593136492
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Published: Crown - April 25th, 2023

Singer songwriter Lucinda Williams (don’t call her style Alt-Country or Americana) pens this evocative memoir of a difficult childhood, her musical education, and career. With an abusive mother who had terrible mental health problems and an itinerant poet-professor father, Williams reflects in her 70s on finally making it in the business as a woman in her 40s with 1998’s Car Wheels on a Gravel Road and how she was labeled "difficult" in the media for being a perfectionist when innumerable male musicians who were exacting were never so judged. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood

The Darling Buds of May by H. E. Bates - Book Review

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The Darling Buds of May (The Pop Larkin Chronicles) By H. E. Bates Cover Image
ISBN: 9781504068826
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Published: Open Road Media - January 11th, 2022

Is The Darling Buds of May the most unproblematically joyful novel I know? Probably. Top notch feel-good escapism courses through this slim prelapsarian pastoral about a British junk man and his irrepressible family. From strawberry picking to blinding cocktails to a taxman that comes to visit for irregularities, falls in love with Pop’s pregnant daughter (that’s no big deal in Eden), and never leaves. The first in the Pop Larkin series of five wonderful little gems, and I’m thrilled they’re back in print. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood

Southern Cooking, Global Flavors by Chef Kenny Gilbert - Book Review

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Southern Cooking, Global Flavors By Chef Kenny Gilbert, Nan Kavanaugh, Alexander Smalls (Foreword by) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780847899258
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Published: Rizzoli - April 11th, 2023

Southern Cooking, Global Flavors is a feast of a cookbook. In each chapter (and with exquisite directions) Chef Kenny Gilbert tackles a Southern staple (and a side) from the African diaspora (fish and grits, ribs and slaw, seafood boils, etc.) and proceeds to transform them in subsequent recipes with remarkable international touches. With gorgeous photography throughout, I want to cook everything–Korean fried chicken with gochujang on biscuits, a Caribbean/Indian-inspired coconut-curry collards with pineapple-cornbread gremolata, chocolate-bourbon pecan pie with Chinese five-spice, and every single rib recipe. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood


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